Tue, Nov 02, 2004 - Page 5 News List

Up to 100,000 protesting farmers clash with police

AFP , BEIJING

Up to 100,000 farmers clashed with police in southwest China, protesting compensation payments for farmland requisitioned to make way for a hydroelectric plant, local residents and reports said yesterday.

Unrest at the Pubugou hydroelectric project on the Dadu river in Sichuan Province began last Thursday and peaked on Friday when locals marched on the Hanyuan County Government offices carrying the corpse of a dead protester, Hong Kong's Sun Daily said.

Several people reportedly were killed in the clashes, while scores were injured as some 10,000 People's Armed Police descended on the area to maintain order, it said.

The demonstrations succeeded in stopping the project which was scheduled to dam the river on Thursday. Marchers also ransacked government offices in Hanyuan, it added.

"It happened on the 29th. It began during the day and lasted until eight or nine in the evening," said a man at the Hanyuan County Government who identified himself as Liu.

"There were many many people involved, I don't know exactly how many," he said.

The paper said 100,000 farmers were involved although an official at Dashu Township said there were only 20,000 protesters and that by yesterday construction on the dam project had recommenced.

"On the day of the protests there were about 20,000 people that went to the construction site. I don't know if anyone died because I didn't go to the scene," the official said without identifying himself.

"At the moment no protesters are at the construction site," he said.

The lands of some 100,000 farmers in 40 townships spread throughout three counties are expected to be submerged by the dam project, he said.

The Dadu river is a tributary of the Min River, which eventually flows into the Yangtze River, China's longest.

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